What is the Lemon Law?
The real name of the California lemon law is the Consumer Warranty Act. It governs the warranty, which is the manufacturer's, and in some cases the dealer's, promise to repair the vehicle if something goes wrong with it. At its most basic, the Lemon Law requires anyone who promises to repair a vehicle, to keep their agreement, or to repurchase or replace it if they don't. Specifically, it requires whoever warrants the vehicle to repair it within "a reasonable number of attempts". It also requires you to take the car to them and say;
"Here's the car. This is the problem. Please fix it."
There is no need to talk lawyers or lemon Law with the dealer. It does not help, and may actually hurt. The lemon law does not tell us what is a reasonable number, so it can vary, depending upon the kind of problem you have.
Documents are very important in these cases, so make sure that you keep all of your 1) purchase documents, and 2) all of your repair orders. DON'T keep them in the car, because all too often they will disappear.
What qualifies as a "Lemon"?
The Lemon Law requires that the vehicle has a "non conformity to warranty" thatsubstantially impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to the buyer.
The #1 Myth
It is not necessary to have a certain number of repairs within the first year or first 18,000 miles, no matter what you may have heard.
The Consumer's Obligation
The manufacturer must be given a reasonable opportunity to make the repairs.
Arbitration is a rigged game. It is run by the manufacturers, for the manufacturers.
What is covered?
The Lemon Law applies to any vehicle with a warranty. The Lemon Law even applies to used vehicles that come with a warranty from the Dealer.
What You Recover
If the vehicle is a lemon, the consumer is entitled to recover the money he or she put into the vehicle.
The Manufacturer's Obligation
The problem must be a substantial one in order to qualify. It must be one that significantly impairs the use, value, or safety of the vehicle.
How to protect yourself
If you think you may a lemon, be sure to keep good records. When you take the vehicle in to the dealer, tell them specifically what the problem is and describe it in detail.
Who pays the fee?
The Lemon Law is a "fee shifting" statute.